Proverbs 31 Womans Devotional - Encouragement for Today

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Encouragement for Today - Apr. 12, 2011

What the Ravens Know
Marybeth Whalen

"He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call." Psalm 147:9 (NIV)

I watch as the bird perches aloft a swinging power line, oblivious to the current pulsing through his perch. He raises his beak and sings in the direction of the clouds above, his song more insistent than melodic.

Until I read today's verse I might've assumed that the raven was calling for his mate or trying to out sing the other birds. But with today's verse on my mind I wonder if he is not doing what all of God's creation inherently knows to do: call on their Creator for their needs.

Ravens are pretty plain as birds go. Missing the distinct markings of a bluebird or cardinal and the unique talents of the woodpecker or hummingbird, ravens strike me as being least likely to get God's attention. And yet, the Psalmist mentions this unremarkable bird in Psalm 147:9. He points out that when they call, God hears them and He provides for them.

Maybe today you are feeling unremarkable, forgotten, lacking anything special. You might be feeling plain, all black feathers in a forest full of bright plumage. Why would God answer your call? You have nothing to offer in return.

This verse assures us that God doesn't respond based on who we are or what we have to offer. He responds because we are His, plain and simple. He responds because it is in His nature to provide. Our call initiates His response. We must believe that with all our hearts and stand on that truth as we wait for that response.

I know that's easier said than done.

Perhaps you have been waiting a long time. Maybe you are feeling hopeless that your prayers will ever be answered. Or perhaps you are losing faith that He even hears.

I've been there, too. There have been times when I looked into tomorrow and saw blackness as dark as the feathers of a raven. Days when I read a verse like Psalm 147:9, and thought to myself, "Yeah, right. He might answer that bird, but He isn't answering me."

And in those times I've wondered what I needed to do to get God's attention. In John 6:28-29 the people ask Jesus what they must do to do the works God requires. They want to please God and they know Jesus holds the key as to how they can do just that. As they wait anxiously for His answer, I imagine they are expecting a laundry list of possibilities, bullet points they can jot down and refer to later.

Instead Jesus tells them that the work of God is simply to believe in the One He has sent. Jesus knew that believing is work. It is heart work. To believe in Jesus even when He seems far away or unresponsive is some of the hardest work we will have to do as we follow Him. But that is all what He asks us to do.

The ravens know that He always provides and they sing with confidence in that, no matter what their circumstances are. Oh how I want to do the same in my life. Will you join me today, singing, believing and standing on His promises as we persevere in song.

Dear Lord, today I am going to keep singing and trust that You will answer my call because I believe You love me and want the best for me. I am going to do the work that You require and trust Your provision. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

To hear of a time God provided for Marybeth in an unusual way, visit Marybeth's blog today!

From Financially Frantic to Financially Free (CD) by Marybeth Whalen

The Air I Breathe: Worship as a Way of Life by Louie Giglio

The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen — a rich novel about loss, hope, and the beauty of second chances.

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Application Steps:
Today when you start to worry about the situation you're in, remember the raven confidently singing to his Creator. Then do the same. You might want to turn on some praise music and actually sing or you might want to read some Psalms or journal your own unique "song" to God. Whatever you do, keep in mind the work that is behind believing God.

Why did Jesus describe believing as work? Have I found it hard to believe at times?

Power Verses:
Psalm 145:16, "You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." (NIV)

Psalm 90:14, "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." (NIV)

© 2011 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

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